Betty Tisel has attended events and protests in support of the Black Lives Matter movement, but she wanted to do something closer to home.
“This corner of Kingfield is pretty darn white,” she said. “I was scratching my head trying to think of something I could do here.”
She started a group that reads together out loud. That way there is no homework, no obligation to buy a book, and no side conversations.
“It forces people to really focus on the subject matter,” Tisel said.
“To be honest, the anti-racism topic was outside of my comfort zone at first,” said resident Amy Lenarz. “But with everything going on in our country and right here in Minneapolis lately, participating in this group has been a timely and extremely relevant learning experience for me.”
Rachel Breen said it was a powerful experience for a group of white homeowners to read about red-lining and other practices that historically prevented black families from building wealth through homeownership.
“It’s created a really great place for us to process racism,” she said. “I would encourage others to be doing the same thing.”
“And I love having conversations with my neighbors where we all grapple with our privilege in a safe space, trying to figure out how we can improve ourselves and our community,” she said.
The group discusses what else they can do, suggesting advocacy group meetups and conversations with kids’ classroom teachers.
The following lists some of the group’s reading selections to-date:
— “Between the World and Me,” by Ta-Nehisi Coates
— “A Good Time for the Truth: Race in Minnesota,” edited by Sun Yung Shin
— “The Case for Reparations,” by Ta-Nehisi Coates